The Montgomery County Recycling Center – Fun, Mezmorizing, and Free!

If you’re looking for someplace cool and interesting to go in these last few days of summer, then consider checking out the Montgomery Country Recycling Center (located at 16105 Frederick Rd Derwood, MD 20855.)  A friend of mine recommended that we go check it out, so we headed over the other morning with high expectations of awesomeness.  We (especially my 4 year old Cameron) were not disappointed!

When you fist enter there is a small room on the first floor that talks about what materials are recyclable and how the sorting room works.  This was interesting to my kids because it really connected the recycling we do at home to what was happening at the center – but this was nothing compared to what awaited us in the sorting room of the center.   Grab some ear plugs (provided by the center and head up the stairs and through the door.  You’ll find a room full of conveyer belts, machines, magnets, employees sorting, and trucks and forklifts moving recyclables around.  There is a catwalk type area which gives a great birds eye view of all the sorting that is going on.  It’s basically like the willy wonka factory for recycling.

Guided tours are available to groups of 10 or more, Monday through Thursday, between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Call the recycling center at 301-417-1433 to schedule a time.  Individuals are welcome to visit at any time without an appointment (this is what we did) weekdays between 7:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The Recycling Center typically does not operate on Fridays. If you are planning a Friday visit, please call the Center at 301-417-1433

The New Playground and SprayPark in the Palisades is Great!

This morning Violet and I went with some friends to check out the newly redone playground and spray park in the Palisades area of DC (5200 Sherier Place, NW Washington, DC 20016).  All in all, the new playground is really beautiful.  It has features to appeal to a wide variety of ages in both the wet and dry areas of the park.  There are only 4 swings, which is fine with me – 2 “big kid swings,” one bucket swing, and one handicapped swing.  There are large and small rock formations to climb, a few slides – including one really big one (watch out, it gets hot!) and lots of fun things to climb up and across.  There are some musical things to play too.  In the wet area there is a water slide, some fish that dump water when filled (similar to the buckets at the Wilson Aquatic Center) and sprinkler fountains of varying sizes.  Violet was more into the little fountains, and the older kids were really enjoying the big ones. There was something for everyone!

Overall, it was a huge hit!  There is limited shade, not too much seating as far as benches go, and the only trash can I saw was just outside the gate – those would be my only critiques.  Otherwise, a great renovation by DPR! We can’t wait to go back!!

Update: We went back this afternoon with my son who is 4.5 – He totally loved it, and I wanted to note that DPR did a great job at picking equipment that is really good for all ages – so both my kids could really enjoy the space in different ways.  Also, the playground had much better shade in the afternoon than in the morning.  And finally, the only way I could get my kids to leave was to promise we could go back tomorrow afternoon – that is saying something!

Checking Out the New Bradley Variety in Bethesda

I grew up going to Bruce’s Variety on Arlington Road in Bethesda – we would shop there for all our halloween / school project / sewing and notions / general crafts needs.  So, I was pretty sad when I heard they were closing their doors and moving due to a big rent increase.  I was happy to see today that the store that opened in it’s place – Bradley Variety and Party has many of the same items in a much more organized and easy to navigate fashion.  In a word, the store is gorgeous!  It is light and bright and the items are displayed very neatly.  It is very easy to find what you are looking for.  If you ever went to the old Bruce’s Variety – you know that this is the opposite of the previous store.  I took some pictures to share with you what Bradley Variety and Party looks like.

Bradley Variety and Party is located at 6922 Arlington Road – in the same shopping plaza as Strosniders and our favorite barber shop.   FYI, Bruce’s Variety has relocated to 8011 Woodmont Avenue also in Bethesda.  I haven’t made it to check it out yet – but I am glad to have lots of options now for crafting, parties, and more!

Gymboree Is Set To Open In Woodley Park!

I first heard that Gymboree was coming to Woodley Park via Kidfriendly DC.  I’ve never taken any Gymboree classes, but I was excited to have the option available close to where I live.  This morning I got an email from the owner saying a date has been set for the grand opening – Thursday, June 27th – and the great news is you can sign up for a FREE class and check it out!  Here’s the details:

TO REGISTER FOR A FREE CLASS: Just follow this link to see the schedule of classes at the new Woodley Park Gymboree.  On the left hand side in an orange box with the header “filter calender” check the box that says “Available for free class sign up.”  Be sure to add your other criteria (like age of your child) and then click on “see results.”  I signed Violet up for a class so we could check it out!  I will be sure to post pictures after the class (we will be going in mid-July.)
SPECIALS: The new Woodley Park Gymboree will be waiving the $50 enrollment fee, and offering the first month at $59 (play & learn classes & music) and $79 (art) – after which time normal monthly rates of $82 and $92 will apply.
The new Gymboree is located at 2639 Connecticut Avenue NW Suite 113 Washington, DC 20008 – right by the Woodley Park metro station.  You can email them at: or call them at: 202-627-2450
See you there!

Free Valentine Making at Whole Foods Friendship Heights!

For those of you with kids who just can’t get enough Valentine making (like mine) tomorrow, February 13th the Whole Foods Half Pint Kids Club is hosting a FREE event.

Here’s the info:

Bring the kiddies from 4-5pm to make homemade Valentine’s Day cards to give to their friends and family! Class is free. Prior registration is required, please sign- up at Customer Service or by calling 301-657-1520.

For more information on upcoming Half Pint Kids Club events, check out this page.  You can also like Whole Foods Friendship Heights on Facebook and follow them on twitter.

Crayon Resist Valentines! Easy and Pretty!

I love the idea of my kids making their own valentines for school.  We did this last year and the lessons I learned were 1) make it an easy craft that they can be successful at, and 2) start early because you might only get a few done each day.  My solution for the year – use crayon resist to make easy, colorful cards that even Violet could help with.  If you’re not familiar with  “crayon resist”  – it’s when you draw with a crayon on paper and then paint watercolor over it, the paint will not cover the paper.  If you use a white crayon on white paper, the crayon drawing will “magically” appear as the paint is applied.

So sweet, and so easy for the kids to make!

What you need:

Blank watercolor paper cards (I ordered mine from Amazon, but I am guessing you could find these at a craft store)

A white crayon

Watercolor paint (I am a big fan of Colorations Liquid Watercolor which was recomended to me by Cameron’s Preschool teachers.  The colors are very vibrant and they are easy for the kids to use.)

Paint brushes

First, draw heart designs on the blank cards.  I did this myself because my kids can’t really draw hearts yet…. plus, I did this in secret so when they started painting they seemed to appear magically, which added to the excitement.

Next, select an assortment of colors (I chose reds, pinks, purples) to be used on the cards.

Then, let the kids paint the cards to their heart’s content!  You may want to attempt to protect the inside of the blank card from getting paint on it.  I did this, but frankly wasn’t 100% successful so the inside isn’t pristine, but I don’t really care.

Allow the cards to dry – once dry you may want to press them under something heavy to be sure they are nice and flat.  You can also decorate the inside with more painting or drawing.

Crayon resist is super fun in general – not just for valentines – so give it a try with your kids!

Holiday Deals 2012 – Part 3!

A slew of deals, many of which expire today.  Happy shopping.

Gap coupon – Extra 20% off purchase + free shipping offer
Coupon Code: GAPGIFT
Expiration Date: 11/23/12

Walgreens coupon – $10 off $50 purchase
Coupon Code: 10SAVE
Expiration Date: 11/24/12

Lulu’s coupon – 15% off sitewide + free shipping offer
Coupon Code: BlkFri12
Expiration Date: 11/23/2012

Travelocity coupon – 10% off hotels
Coupon Code: TURKEY10
Expiration Date: 11/26/2012

Crate&Barrel coupon – 15% off
Coupon Code: SAVE15
Expiration Date: 11/26/2012

Eastbay coupon – $25 off orders of $99 or more
Coupon Code: LKS1DCF6
Expiration Date: 11/26/2012

The Land of Nod coupon – 15% off + free shipping
Coupon Code: SAVE15
Expiration Date: 11/26/2012

Chinese Laundry coupon – 25% off
Coupon Code: SHOP1123
Expiration Date: 11/23/2012

The Children’s Place coupon – Black Friday Blowout: 30-50% off everything
Coupon Code: BF2012HP
Expiration Date: 11/23/12

Banana Republic coupon – 40% off sitewide
Coupon Code: BRFRIDAY
Expiration Date: 11/23/2012

Levi’s coupon – 40% off sitewide + free shipping
Coupon Code: BLKFRI
Expiration Date: 11/23/2012

Coldwater Creek coupon – 40% off sitewide
Coupon Code: WFH6587
Expiration Date: 11/25/2012 coupon – 30% off sitewide
Expiration Date: 11/23/2012

etnies coupon – Black Friday Sale: 20% off & free shipping
Expiration Date: 11/25/2012

Forever21 coupon – Black Friday: Extra 50% off sale items + free shipping offer
Coupon Code: EXTRA50
Expiration Date: 11/25/12

Holiday Deals 2012 – Part 2!

Amazon coupon – 15% off Subscribe & Save when you pay with a MasterCard
Coupon Code: MSTRCRD1
Expiration Date: 11/30/2012

H2O+ – $25 off any $100 purchases
Coupon Code: BLACK1
Expiration Date: 11/26/2012

Banana Republic coupon – 25% off purchases
Coupon Code: BRTHANKS
Expiration Date: 11/22/2012

The Home Depot coupon – $5 off $50
Coupon Code: BFHD2012
Expiration Date: 11/23/2012

Yoox coupon – 15% off + free shipping
Expiration Date: 11/26/2012

Holiday Deals 2012 – Part 1!

I’m a little slow this year with posting the holiday coupon codes.  The kids and I have been sick, plus we just got through Cameron’s Birthday party (he’s 4!)  Here is this year’s first round:

Old Navy coupon – 15% off purchase + free shipping offer
Coupon Code: ONGIFT
Expiration Date: 11/21/12

Chico’s coupon – 25% off an entire order + free shipping on $100 or more
Coupon Code: 14835
Expiration Date: 11/25/2012

Levi’s coupon – 30% off + free shipping sitewide
Coupon Code: HOLIDAY
Expiration Date: 11/21/2012

Express coupon – BOGO Sale + up to $60 off purchases
Coupon Code: 2246
Expiration Date: 11/20/2012

Lane Bryant coupon – The Most Wonderful Sale: 50% off almost everything
Coupon Code: HOLIDAY50LB
Expiration Date: 11/25/2012

Yves Saint Laurent coupon – Friends & Family Event: 20% off any purchase
Coupon Code: PREVIEW12
Expiration Date: 11/22/2012

Forever 21 coupon – 30% off sweaters
Coupon Code: SWEATERS30
Expiration Date: 11/21/2012

Ann Taylor coupon – BOGO 50% off on regular-price items
Coupon Code: SHOPBOGO
Expiration Date: 11/20/2012

J.Crew coupon – 30% off sitewide at the J.Crew Factory
Coupon Code: SCOREMORE
Expiration Date: 11/20/2012

I’ll post more as I see them.  Happy shopping!

The American Trail at the Zoo is Open!

The American Trail at the National Zoo opens tomorrow (9/1) to the general public, but we were lucky to be able to see it today on the FONZ preview day. It was a little crowded, but a ton of fun. I wanted to post a few pictures for you all to check out – they don’t even begin to cover how cool the exhibit is!

Overall the exhibit is very stroller and kid friendly. There are a lot of stairs, but everything is also accessible via ramps. If you like, there is stroller parking at the entrance.  The kids can get great views of all the animals and particularly seemed to love the underwater viewing areas. While there is no bathroom there, they are located nearby at the Elephant Outpost, or at Amazonia (either of which you need to pass on the way to get to the American Trail. There is a Cafe with a small selection in case you need some food. The biggest draw for the kids seemed to be the tide pool which I think (although it was hard to tell since it’s new!) was having some trouble. The water only came on once in the 30 minutes we were hanging out near it. There were still puddles on the ground which my kids loved, but when the water actually came on, boy were they excited. Watch out for the littlest ones, though. The initial rush of water can be a bit intense. Violet also took a jet of water to the face. She was in shock but recovered quickly! All in all, a lot of fun. I can’t wait to go back once the crowds die down. See you there!

To learn more about the American Trail at the National Zoo and even check out a virtual tour, visit the Zoo website.